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Walsall man accused of terror offences accidentally set off blast in his kitchen, court told

A Walsall man accused of terrorism offences mistakenly set off explosives in his kitchen before bragging online about the "awesome fireball", a court has heard.

 Birmingham Crown Court
Birmingham Crown Court

Vaughn Dolphin is said to have posted two short videos of the blast's aftermath to a Telegram social media channel, showing the smoke-filled room, just two weeks before his arrest by counter-terrorism officers.

In one video, Dolphin, aged 20, of Walsall Wood Road, allegedly recorded footage on his phone showing him wearing a gas mask, talking into the camera, saying: "I started choking, so I put this (mask) on."

He is then allegedly heard laughing before saying "next time, I'll do this outside, but, ah well, you live and learn".

Later, he allegedly said: "You should have seen the fireball, the fireball was f****** awesome - I definitely put way too much potassium in it.

"A purple fireball, it burned, it was sick - absolutely f****** sick."

In a shorter video, recorded before he was wearing the mask, a red cooking pan can be seen on the kitchen hob, with Dolphin allegedly heard in the background: "Ah the b****** f****** mixture set itself prematurely, oh my God."

Dolphin is accused of two charges under the Explosive Substances Act, six counts of having documents likely to be of use to terrorists, and two charges of sharing online material which could encourage terrorism.

He is also accused of unlawful possession of a firearm - a crude gun barrel.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court have already heard evidence that he allegedly called in posts on extreme right-wing chat groups for minorities "to be shot".

On Monday, the jury heard how he allegedly shared video of a white supremacist terrorist's fatal attack on black shoppers in a supermarket in the United States.

He also allegedly recorded a third video of him making "homemade fuses" in his kitchen, then posted that footage into a chat group, before others there warned him he could be arrested.

Prosecutor Matthew Brook, for the Crown, said Dolphin replied to that arrest warning, posting: "Everything on my PC is encrypted, and everything they'd try to convict me for is hidden on memory sticks.

"It's pretty much all just weapons manuals, how to build s***, etc."

Mr Brook told jurors, as he continued the prosecution's opening: "We say he is clearly referring to his USB stick... clearly aware the contents of the USB stick are illegal and need to be hidden away from the police."

Within two weeks, on June 27, 2022, Dolphin was arrested at an address in Cheshire.

Police also recovered items from his bedroom at his home address, including a PC and an encrypted USB memory stick, and from a garden shed - among them what prosecutors say was a "crude" home-made gun barrel, and "homemade body armour".

Officers also found Nazi paraphernalia and symbols in his room and the shed, including one referencing the Waffen-SS - the unit of the Second World War German stormtroopers, which had close ties to Hitler.

Files on the USB stick included a manual on how to build a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and an "automatic assault shotgun", a guide to arson attacks, including which parts of a building to target for maximum effect, a recipe for plastic explosive entitled Homemade C4, and a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, as well as another document, named The Big Book of Mischief.

Earlier, Mr Brook played a video of the Tops supermarket terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, which unfolded on May 14 last year, leaving 10 dead.

Explaining to jurors what the footage showed, the Crown's barrister said: "It was a terrorist attack... carried out by a white supremacist, called Payton Gendron, (who) went into the supermarket and shot dead 10 black people."

Self-proclaimed white supremacist Gendron "livestreamed" his attack using a head-mounted camera, and simultaneously posted a "manifesto", decrying immigration as the "ethnic replacement of our people", called for "all Jews to go to hell", and urged "Europeans" to launch terrorist attacks to avoid "the white race dying out".

Dolphin is accused of posting a video of that attack into a Telegram channel, forming one of the terrorism charges against him.

In May 2022, sharing pictures of the garden shed, Dolphin is said to have posted comments to another chat channel, including that he was "thinking of trying my hand at something that would make Ted Kaczynski blush" - with Mr Brook telling jurors that was a reference to "the Unabomber, an American terrorist".

Dolphin is also alleged to have said: "I am looking into making my own black powder."

And in reference to one of the key ingredients in gunpowder, he allegedly told how potassium nitrate was "in more than you realise", adding "I can just say I am looking after my plants".

Later, he allegedly said: "Finally got round to drilling out the barrel of my black powder musket/pistol.

"I am, for sure, going to get my arm blown off, I am even making my own black powder for it - think blunderbuss but lit like a cannon, and hand-held."

In police interview, Dolphin claimed he was "lying" about making a gun - though he had an interest in chemistry and his "curiosity got the better of him sometimes" - and did "not agree with far-right nationalism", or the Nazis "as it was an insult to people who fought the war".

Dolphin denies any wrongdoing and the trial, estimated to last four weeks, continues.

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